Economists are divided in opinion on how the current uncertain political environment will impact economic activities in the country, with one saying there may be no serious consequences considering the Supreme Court’s resolve to address the matter promptly; and the other maintaining it can have a negative impact on investment.
After the results of the December 7, 2020 election where the incumbent candidate President Akufo-Addo was declared winner by the Electoral Commission, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has rejected the outcome of the polls, saying there were some irregularities in the collation process, which when addressed, will change the declared results, thereby, either sending the election into a run-off or making its candidate the winner.
The flagbearer of the NDC, former President Mahama, has since, served notice that his party will undertake forensic audit of the figures and decide on the next line of action, which may include petitioning the Supreme Court for redress, just as it happened in 2012 when there was an eight-month-long legal dispute over the election; a move which most financial analysts agree disrupted the economy. However, this time, prior to the general election, the Supreme Court announced that any election petition will be resolved in 40 days.
This, Director of the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana (ISSER), Prof. Peter Quartey, in an interview with B&FT said he does not expect any post-election dispute at the court to disrupt the economy, given the Supreme Court’s assurance of addressing the matter within two months.
“Unlike 2012 when the election dispute prolonged, it might not be so this year. This is because the Supreme Court has provided some guidelines should any party disagree with the results. Therefore, I am of the view that the impact of the uncertainty on the economy might be very minimal. I don’t foresee any major impact on the economy.
The rule of law prevails in Ghana and so once, to a very large extent, the citizenry and the international community know this, it might not have any significant impact on people’s investment decisions.
The Supreme Court’s pronouncement that any dispute on the presidential results will be addressed within 42 days also send a signal to investors and the international community that we are a serious country. So I don’t think for that short period, it will have any significant impact on the economy,” he said.
But his colleague professor at the University of Cape Coast, Dean of the Business School, Prof. John Gatsi, thinks otherwise, saying some investors may have a second thought investing in the economy, depending on which government is in power.
“If the evidence coming out in the public domain are true, then that may give investors a second thought about major activities they want to undertake in the country because they need to access whether what they are coming to do in the country may be affected negatively depending on who is in government.
Then, when we come to Parliament, it is not very clear who will have majority. Even if the party declared winner gets the majority, it won’t have it easy in terms of policy approval. There are certain policies you will need the consensus of Parliament as a whole and with the current composition of Parliament, you won’t get it and that can have a negative effect on the administration of the country. I think the disagreement on the election results casts some dark cloud on the country,” he said in an interview with the B&FT.